Most of us know that cooking at home is healthier than eating out at restaurants, but it’s easy to get discouraged by how much work goes into making one meal.
You might find it relaxing to whip up some lunch with some friends or put together a dinner on nights that you have downtime, but on days you are swamped, nothing sounds more daunting than trying to create a meal in under an hour.
But just because you are pressed for time doesn’t mean you can’t cook at home. There are ways to shorten prep time in the kitchen if you prepare ahead and keep yourself organized.
If you’re someone who likes to cook at home, but doesn’t have a lot of time on their hands, consider using these 10 cooking hacks that can help reduce your time spent in the kitchen.
1. Precut Vegetables At The Beginning Of The Week
No one has time to chop a bunch of onions when you’re on the go, but preparing some foods that the beginning of the week can help solve this problem. Cut up vegetables on Sunday nights when you tend to unwind or watch TV to have a variety of foods on hand throughout the week.
2. Peel A Potato By Boiling It
Instead of wasting your time with a peeler, remove the skin from potatoes by boiling the potato and sticking it into a bowl of cold water. Place your hands on both ends and twist, and the peel should remove itself instantly.
3. Freeze Soft Cheese Before Grating
Soft cheeses such as mozzarella can be harder to grate, but putting it in the freezer for 30 minutes can help make it easier to shred. This works best when you plan to cook the cheese later.
4. Peel Garlic In The Microwave
Garlic is delicious and healthy, and it works well in a variety of dishes, but it can be a nuisance to peel. Heat a head of garlic in the microwave for 20 seconds, and the cloves will slide right out.
5. Slice Your Cherry Tomatoes All At Once
Cherry tomatoes are delicious, but they can be time consuming to slice if you do them one by one. Stick your tomatoes between two tupperware lids and running the knife through the space between the lids, slicing all of your tomatoes at once.
6. Use A Slow Cooker
Whether you’re just heating up some leftovers or preparing a dish overnight, the slow cooker can be your best friend when it comes to hands-off cooking. Throw some ingredients in overnight or in the morning before work, and you’ll find a meal waiting for you in the morning or when you get home.
7. Speed Up Ripening In A Brown Paper Bag
If you have some produce that needs to be ripened, just keep it on your counter closed up in a brown paper bag. When fruit ripens, it releases a gas called ethylene. The bag traps this gas, allowing the fruit to ripen quicker.
8. Freeze Herbs In Olive Oil
Have any leftover fresh herbs you don’t want to go to waste? Freeze them in an ice cube tray with some olive oil for a quick dash of flavor next time you make a stir fry or scramble some eggs. This helps preserve the herbs and gives you a more flavorful oil for your next cooking endeavor.
Image: The Kitchn
9. Make Hard-Boiled Eggs In The Oven
Place eggs in a muffin tin and bake for 30 minutes at 325 degrees to make creamy hard-boiled eggs in large batches. This is great for having guests or when you want to prepare a large quantity for the rest of the week.
10. Jar Your Own Salad Dressing
Make your own dressing and store it in Mason jars in the fridge. Not only will this be healthier than using the store bought version, but you’ll have a quick option on hand when you make salads at home.